29 thoughts on “Race Matters 1”

  1. I really appreciated West did not hold back on constructive criticism on whatever issue he discussed. He encouraged talking about issues that are so sensitive such as race head on instead of gently. As you said he didn’t hold back when it came to criticizing his own people that represented the community, I definitely see it as more of him trying to say I see you doing better or I see us doing better. From what I’ve read so far he doesn’t want to settle and isn’t afraid to point out whichever flaw minor or not that is hindering the goal of progression in America social or economic.

  2. I read Wests argument as to why he’s against Obama a few weeks back and felt a bit of anger while reading it. It was as his critique wholly critical, undermining the amount work Obama put in to get there and the fact he’s black.

    Reading this, I understand his view point a lot better. And he’s spot on about this sect of liberals being scared to have important dialogue. Im sure it will be expanded on in the coming chapters, as he touches on what we do next. But what exactly is this plan? I do agree we have to throw away the blueprints of the forefathers (King, Malcolm X, W.E.B Du Bois, etc.), as obviously it hasn’t worked. What he doesn’t explicitly mention is its still very important to analyze their ideologies and teachings as we still have a lot to learn.

    I loved his words about the black community and us being raised on survival. This survival theme runs deep in black culture, even more so now where we are literally preaching about survival from police and arrogant racists. One thing I want to point out; whether its King, W.E.B or Cornell…the argument is always the same. Its almost a running joke at this point; we’ve all been screaming for the same exact same thing, its just the message always gets lost in translation.

      1. I paste what I wrote in another reply: “his plan is the reiteration of MLk’s plan: he believes in non-violent civil protests, and you can indeed find him everywhere this is happening, from the Wall Street movement to Ferguson to NYC these days. I also think the question “what is your plan” is a little bit misleading, since the very possibility of having a plan indicates a certain degree of calm and equality, which is yet to be achieved. incremental progress through peaceful protest is his plan, which doesn’t amount to much, but I can’t think of how one can have an actual elaborate plan about what do next under current circumstances.”

    1. Thank you! his plan is the reiteration of MLk’s plan: he believes in non-violent civil protests, and you can indeed find him everywhere this is happening, from the Wall Street movement to Ferguson to NYC these days. I also think the question “what is your plan” is a little bit misleading, since the very possibility of having a plan indicates a certain degree of calm and equality, which is yet to be achieved. incremental progress through peaceful protest is his plan, which doesn’t amount to much, but I can’t think of how one can have an actual elaborate plan about what do next under current circumstances.

  3. I think the reason why Cornel was conservative-friendly is to seek the balance between two sides (democrat and republican). He saw the benefits and the flaws on both sides, and understand that the true answer lies between the two extremes, and ideally, he wants to put them together to form a better idea that contains good of both sides. But nowadays, that is impossible to achieve. The situation developed into an extreme where it’s one way or the other, with no middle ground (for various of reasons). In this case, I think the best choice (it’s not like we have much of a choice) is to choose the lesser of the two evils, and we can go from there.

    1. Thank you! I think it’s more than strategic reasons. As I said in the lecture he genuinely prefers them to liberals, since they are willing to stand up for something bigger than themselves and are not individualists.

  4. It’s unfortunate how racial reasoning and the closing ranks within black communities can really tear them apart and prevent their unification on important matters. The closing ranks especially can also come across as a form of self hatred or even internalized racism, and might even be in place to divide the community to prevent them from forming together and being powerful. It’s just how the system is made in America to prevent any true change from happening, in my opinion.

    1. Thank you! that’s the core of his argument in the second chapter. his point is that closing ranks is a very recent phenomenon, introduced into the community since the 1970s, and it can be overcome.

  5. I certainly see how the conservative view translates to a lack of love within the black community given that conservatives wish to be judged based on their skill-set rather than their skin color. In that manner, West is asserting that race should not matter. This may be slightly idealistic given that we do not live in a color-blind society and this division is apparent in even, capitalism. I strongly see the value in cohesion of both liberal and conservative ideals in that, governmental help cannot be overlooked. The black community cannot be blamed for the wage-gap and programs such as, affirmative action are in place to bolster the black community’s ability to succeed. Conservatives feel that such programs only reiterate that the black community cannot compete in the same pool as their white peers. However, it must be said that such programs are only in place because society is not yet truly equal and still maintains a degree of discrimination. Thus, to say that equality in society has already been achieved through the end of segregation is extremely utopian and is not an accurate representation. That being said, the history of white supremacy has led the black community to often view themselves through a “white lens” which cannot be overlooked, either. It must be acknowledged that racism within society still exists and that self-love and pride within the black community is a battle to be yet achieved in itself.

    1. Thank you! I am not sure if I agree that he believes “race shouldn’t matter,” since as you say it’s a naive statement given the state of America. He is talking about the replacement of moral reasoning with racial reasoning, and the moral reasoning, in his opinion, is the product of Black culture and community, not a color-blind universal thing.

  6. I must agree with Dr Cornel, the division in America will never be eradicated until the whole society understands that everyone is worth it. A white individual that was raced in a household and for generations their family have the advantage like you mention, that their wealth was inherited, it is easy for them to ignore racism. I would say that providing better education and economic supports to black would be something I’ll agree on, and also on Cornel’s main idea of self love and worthiness. It should be a balance

    1. Hi Nicole,
      I agree with your point, eradicating racism is not going to happen over time and educating our future generation is the first step for a better society. I stand by Cornel view, in which he considered essential self-love and worthiness the main value. As he mentioned the main threat for the black community is not oppression or economical depravation but the absence of a scope in their life.
      As the professor mentioned, WWII had played an important moment in history since it created major economic inequalities between the black and the white populations. “The White Flight” which gave the opportunity to white people to become middle class and to marginalize black people with color zoning was the last stab in the back that shaped today’s society. Therefore, as the author mentioned, for a community broken down emotionally and physically, financial compensation is not the ultimate solution. Reestablish self-love, sense of community and belonging that has been broke down with over the course of years is essential to reestablishing hope and an objective for a better future .

  7. I appreciated the distinction you made in West’s purpose for Christianity compared to Jesus’ own uprising against the ruling Roman class. This helps tie into what you mentioned before as churches were seen as more of a political institution for black Americans. I find it very interesting that he sees a deficiency of love in his contemporary setting and that consumerism has taken over and is to blame. I cannot help but draw parallels to today’s America in which we have more partisanship than ever before in present history and have an economy that disproportionately relies on the American consumer. I agree with West in that a deficiency in love is linked to this consumerism because it is only selfishness which could create such disparity between Americans and our political parties.

    1. I’m still shook by the use of unconditional love in the non romantic sense but that could be that hopeless romantic idiot that I am. The conceit of as unconditional Love as a political or capitalist position is something I need to dive deeper into or rather would enjoy like ten more lecture on.

  8. I’m glad you unpacked what a revolutionarty Christian dr. West is. It’s very helpful as we go on ready and also as we know that the Black community are deeply e trenched in the faith and the church is the hub of their social structure as well as their faith, there is no selling out there is only god.

    1. Sorry this sounds like an absolute statement. To clarify I meant, we know from our readings in the past few weeks as well as being around our own friends and family in real life how central to the community church is and inside that how central faith is to the Black community, and understanding that at his core Dr West is a person of faith and defines himself as a Christian who is also a revolutionary thinker Which we see so clearly is helpful.

  9. Reading the book I was confused at the start because I had no idea what nihilism is. So like anybody in today’s world, I googled it. Nihilism the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless. This is one of the biggest problems in the black community and its one that is specific to the black community. Since we were brought here white people tried to strip us of everything we know from Africa and try to push their beliefs on us, but you can’t expect to have a group of people conform to your values when you’re enslaving them. Fortunately, now we have access to things like ancestry.com were you can track your DNA back to its origin or close to it.

    Although the Black community may not have a strong connection to our roots. I think we did a great job of making a new culture with what we have. And in my opinion, Black-American culture is the most influential in the world.

    1. Thank you! nihilism is hard to avoid for any community systematically discriminated against and humiliated. you can see contemporary forms of it in many Middle Eastern countries, demoralized by wars and domestic dictators.

  10. West pointed out that the discussion on the plight of African Americans is divided into two camps: the liberal structuralists and the conservative behaviorists. And West’s attitude towards these two camps and his comments are particularly pertinent to me. He did not support a certain camp arbitrarily, but objectively and rationally analyzed the irrationality of the two camps.
    West believes that the problem that is ignored by both camps, but also the key one, is the nihility threat to the existence of black people. In my opinion, West is focused on the needs of the black community at a higher level. West mentioned such problems as depression, personal worthlessness and social despair among African Americans. Of course, I’m not saying that mental health, value, and hope for life are not important to black people, but it seems to be meaningless to talk about them before their basic survival problems are completely solved.

    1. Thank you! his argument is that economy and the retrieval of dignity and love need to go hand and in hand, that self-hatred and nihilism are as important as basic survival problems. that’s where he separates his way from liberals and seculars.

  11. I must admit that I also agree with Glen Loury’s perspective on black liberalism (which West disagrees with). Loury argued that many people try to be loyal to their race in ‘blind’ ways and end up making assumptions that are often misleading or just entirely wrong. He also argued that it’s how some African American always blame everything on white people. To me, that sounded more like an opinion since there aren’t any factual reasoning behind that. But I see where his point is coming from. For example, nowadays, many people assume that all cops are racists toward he black. But if we look at last years data (according to an article on washington post), it showed that there were double the number of white people killed by police compared to black people. So obvoiusly, it’s not always about the race and not all cops are racists. I think the media plays a huge part in all this. Because even though the data shows that there double the number of white people killed by cops compared to black, we didn’t see it as much in the news or anything. Obviously police brutality exists, I just think that’s no reason to blame all cops.
    -Fahim Islam

  12. Through a series of eight essays, West creates a new discourse around race. Race Matters analyzes the internal and external obstacles facing the black community. West delves into the internal roadblocks that prevent black people from unifying across the nation. For instance, West criticizes the black bourgeois for leaving behind many disenfranchised blacks that contend with oppressive forces in the form of racism and a market system that leaves too many black people behind.

  13. I thought it was interesting when West talked about how black people tend not to speak out against other black people in power. He used the example of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Apparently, most of his political beliefs didn’t align with the black community, and West argues that there were others more qualified than him. However, I understand why he was supported. I didn’t realize this is another privilege white people have, the privilege the disagree with other public white people. There is such a lack of representation, that POC has a greater pressure to support POC in power whether or not they agree with them in order to advance society as a more all-inclusive place.

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